We know it’s Heema Dattani when we see unmatched elegance on Sonakshi Sinha and Kriti Sanon. Heema Dattani has been creating magnificent looks for the gorgeous ladies of Indian Cinema for quite a while now and all the looks have been more phenomenal and dynamic than the other. Catch her unveiling the tits-bits of her journey in this exclusive interview with STRUT 24X7.

Q. So how did it all start for you? What was your first job in the makeup industry? How did your career in makeup artistry begin?

A. I was working in Salon in the hair department and always felt that makeup looked more fun. Hence I decided to make a switch and applied at M.A.C which led to some superb education in makeup and really improved my artistry. As my clientele in M.A.C increased, I grew more confident about makeup. My next goal was Bollywood hence I quit my job with no backup plan. I started doing freelancing makeup jobs and ultimately landed up with one in Bollywood. It took time and perseverance but here we are!

Q. When did you decide that this is the job for you?

A. I knew I was on the right track when I wasn’t even advertising but still got clients for freelancing only because of word of mouth. I knew then that I was doing good in makeup.

Q. What is it that you love about your job?

I love that I get to travel the world for a job that I am passionate about.

Q. What is that you hate about your job?

The worst part of this profession is having to ask for money when I have already done the work and clients delay payments. I have had to go stand right inside the wedding mandap because a bride’s mom refused to pay.

Q. What’s your first makeup memory?

A. My very first makeup memory is now what we call a makeup faux pas. I remember going to a local shop and buy a purple frosted lipstick with my mom and I distinctly remember putting it on when mom wasn’t home. Metallic lips were all the rage then and now I wouldn’t want to be caught even owning a frosted lipstick

Q. What are the challenges in building a career linked to becoming a makeup artist? And what advice would you give to budding makeup artists?

A. The biggest challenge is the advertisement. It is the make or breaks factor of a makeup artist’s career. If you have talent but have not showcased it in all the right places, you can’t get anywhere. also vice-versa, no skill, and all ads will make the artist look like a clown. My advice to all beginners would be to have an insane amount of patience because Rome wasn’t built in a year !! And practice practice practice. We always catalog our work. This way, it’s easy to go see our own mistakes, learn from them and it also helps in going back to the particular looks. Also, be open to criticism. It will only help you grow.

Q. How has the makeup industry evolved since the time you started to now?

A. The makeup industry has evolved over the years in terms of respect that artists and technicians now get. With the more prevalent use of social media, we are able to showcase our work to a larger audience as well as actually inspire people.

Q. How is Covid-19 going to change the way makeup artists will function?

A. COVID has really changed how everyone functions so we are now wearing face masks, gloves and are really mindful of where our hands are touching on other surfaces. As far as makeup goes, we’ll probably be using more transfer-proof products so that the makeup doesn’t budge even with masks on. Also, we can now emphasis the yes more as that’s the only visible part of the face.

Q. Tell us more about what you did in these 5 months of staying at home.

A. The last 5 months have brought a much-needed break because I was continuously traveling past few years and my mind and body really needed to sit down and relax. Like everyone else, I have mostly cooked more during the lockdown then ever before, brownies mostly haha. So much so that my brothers got brownies for Raksha Bandhan this year and not our traditional mithai. Then I was also able to spend so much quality time with my family which I had missed the most. Just being able to lay my head down in mommy’s lap is not something that you can buy with money. Also learned to play the Ukelele and enjoyed the process thoroughly! I think I did pretty okay.

Q. How does one ensure that all the products are sanitized?

A. We have always been sanitizing products, people have gotten serious about it only after Covid-19. Lipsticks and pencil products can be sanitized by wiping the tips with a tissue paper and rubbing alcohol or even by just sharpening them. All powder surfaces can also be wiped with alcohol wipes. Make sure to let them dry before using. I think it’s also important to clean the brushes with antibacterial brush cleansers.

Q. Are there any particular philosophies that have guided your career decisions?

A. Not really. I always try to have a short term and long term goal. When any project is offered, whether it’s a movie or celeb shoot or even a bridal package, I try to see if it aligns with my goals. Each project needs to satisfy my passion for the art and if the said project does, I go ahead with it. Of course, dates are another issue. I have had to let go of many amazing projects due to prior commitments. I always believe in destiny, if it’s meant to be mine, it will come around.

Q. Tell us about some career-defining moments and what you learned from them?

A. I think all the firsts of my career as a makeup artist have been career-defining moments. My 1st paid client, the 1st bride, 1st celeb client. But my 1st movie and getting a call from Mrs. Nita Ambani’s office are the biggest milestone which is very dear to me. Each new milestone has only taught me to be more sincere towards my work. You can never stop working hard.

Q. We loved Sonakshi’s Peacock Magazine look. Tell us more about your experience working on that?

A. Oh, that shoot was fun!

Sonakshi’s words were ” Just do your thing.” We were shooting it in National Park with an early morning call time. Mornings are always associated with fresh makeup so we decided to go with a pink monotone color story. The outfit was also floral and it just screamed Fresh.

Q. How is doing makeup for films different than doing makeup for promotional shoots?

A. The main difference between makeup for movies and promotional shoots is continuity. It’s the most important factor in movie makeup. Filming the same scene over a period of time is very common and we have to be able to match the makeup every single time. While promotional events are more impromptu and no same makeup twice making it easier than movies.

Q. We love how Kriti Sanon’s looks are so versatile and dynamic. Tell us more about what goes behind curating her looks?

A. Thank you! Kriti Sanon is fun to work with. We always keep in mind what she’s wearing and the occasion. Other than that she is open to experimenting. So it’s always fun.

Q. You have done makeup for Bollywood’s biggest icons like Kriti Sanon, Kirti Kharbanda, Sonakshi Sinha, etc. How is the process different from one celebrity to another?

A. All celebs have their routine, some like to get to work as soon as they arrive while some may take time to get into the zone and chill with their team. Processes change as per their needs. All these ladies have different skin types and skincare routines. Their choice in looks also varies. Like Kriti Kharbanda likes the no-makeup makeup look the best, Kriti Sanon likes to keep her skin bare so she insists on minimal foundation while Sona loves having eyeliners and Nita Ambani Maam likes having depth to her eyes. I am grateful that I get to work with ladies with different needs and likes.

Q. The best piece of advice given to you when you were starting off and you follow it even today?

A. Like all parents, mine also told me to be sincere to my work and to always be grateful. That keeps me going even now.